devastating earthquates were systematically dismantled and the stones suitable
for re-building were removed. But we were not the run-of-the-mill tourists.
There was no need to look for extensive ruins. More important to us was
the need to have a holistic picture of each church and the city in which
it was located. Often there are residual features of the ancient cities
which can be discerned from the modern ones. Space does not permit mention
of the wealth of Sardis, especially gold that was panned from the Pactolus
River. Thyatira has a basilica structure and a colonnaded Roman road. Philadelphia
has three solid, large pillars which held up a fairly large, domed church.
And sections of the ancient aqueduct and clogged clay pipes of Laodicea
are still exposed. I end this travelogue with the hope that it has heightened
both your understanding of the Scriptures as well as your desire to join
our Bible Lands Study Tour in May-June, 2002 (QSH).
Tuesday, 7.30-9.30 pm
Thursday, 7.30-9.30 pm
Saturday, 3-5 pm
[ cont ]
OF THE EPHESIANS
Many foreign dignitaries have trudged the marbled streets of Ephesus and admired the magnificent ruins that once were palatial palaces and towering temples dedicated not only to the worship of the Greek gods, but also to the Roman emperors. As we stood before the ornate, sumptuous façade of the Celsus Library dedicated to the Roman Senator Julius Celsus Ptolemaeanus in the first quarter of the 2nd Century AD and the site of modern concerts held during the annual arts festival today, I reminded the trippers that originally four statues stood in the niches fronting the entrance. These stood for four virtues: wisdom (sophia), character (arete), discernment (ennoia), and understanding (episteme). They are reminders of something very apt even for todayís bibliophiles (book-lovers). Directly opposite the Library is a brothel. Like any major city, then and now, Ephesus stood for both virtues and vices. We proceeded to the majestic theatre with a seating capacity of 25,000 persons. From that place during Paulís time the hysterical cry, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians" went on non-stop for two hours, leading almost to the lynching of Paulís co-workers: we were given a grim reminder of the dangers faced by Paul and his co-workers in their missionary travels. Ephesus was the first church to receive the Letters addressed to the Seven Churches of Revelation 2 & 3. It lay on the ancient courierís route in the fertile Lycus Valley. The Christians there and we ourselves were reminded that sometimes busyness in church work may lead to neglecting our relationship to Jesus Christ: we need to recover the priority of loving Jesus above all else.
THE CROWN OF ASIA
comfort of our hotel rooms we could choose between thermal or regular water.
From the mountain we descended to the bay area which gives Izmir its special
character. In the evening the twinkling lights of houses crowding the slopes,
topped by the remains of city walls and impressive towers throw light on
the reference to "the crown of life" (Rev. 2:10) in the Letter to Smyrna.
REPENT OR ELSE ...
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Page 2 _____ 18 - 24 June 2001
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Letís not beat about the
killed an Egyptian man for beating a Hebrew. "When Pharaoh heard of this
matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh
and settled in the land of Midian." Pharaoh must have been really mad at
Moses to want to kill him himself, instead of ordering others to kill Moses.
And Moses had to flee from his presence, probably with just the clothes
on his back. I wonder: Did he have to fight his way out of Pharaohís court?
gave the standard answer to Godís call. "Here I am!"
Then God told Moses to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Hey, wasnít Moses the one who killed an Egyptian for striking an Israelite? Didnít he want to free his people from cruel slavery? So did he yell, "Yippee!"? Or did he say, "Who am I that I should go to PharaohÖ.."? What a laugh! Wasnít Moses a prince of Egypt, a nephew of Pharaoh brought up in Pharaohís court where position and status were everything? Was he now saying that he had no position or status, and was a nobody who could not stand before Pharaoh? Or was there a deeper meaning behind his words? Who was he? The son of Hebrews yet not brought up as a Hebrew? The son of an Egyptian princess, yet not an Egyptian?
Or did his words also mask a fear of being killed by Pharaoh if he returned? How do you cure Moses of such a great fear? God did it by turning his staff into a poisonous snake. So what did Moses do? "Moses fled from it" (Exodus 4:3, KJV, NASB, Amplified). See the connection? Moses fled from Pharaoh; now Moses fled from a snake. God then asked Moses to take the snake by the tail. Hmmm, would you grab a big poisonous snake by the tail, knowing it can quickly turn around and bite you? How much courage did Moses have to muster before he finally grabbed the snakeís tail? To touch the snake, didnít Moses first have to overcome his fear of dying?
Or did Moses only overcome his fear of snakes? Letís see. At the end of Mosesí meeting with God, what did God say? Wasnít it: "But take THIS staff in your hand so that you can perform miraculous signs with it"? Think about the word "this". Was the staff with or near Moses, or was it with or near God? Why did Moses leave behind his staff, if not because he still feared the snake that his staff could change into?
Moses had a great fear and God helped him overcome it. Is there any fear in you that God is unable to help you overcome?